How To Care For Bamboo Fabric
As we look to make more sustainable choices with our wardrobes, eco-friendly fabrics are becoming increasingly popular.
Bamboo fabric has been around for years, but it’s only recently that we’re seeing a rise in the popularity of bamboo clothing. Soft to the touch, highly absorbent and porous to help regulate body temperature, bamboo clothing is good at resisting lint and pet fur, drapes well over the body and doesn’t easily wrinkle.
At Jayley, we’ve recently launched our own line of bamboo clothing, including our bamboo faux fur coats and jackets and bamboo blend garments, and we want to provide the best care advice for them so they’ll offer a lifetime of wear in your wardrobe.
From washing your items to storing them safely, follow our tips to get the best out of your bamboo.
Table of contents:
How to wash bamboo fabric
There are several types of bamboo fabric, including bamboo linen made from 100% bamboo, bamboo rayon, a silky smooth fabric often used in pyjamas and sheets, and bamboo blend. Because of the differences between these fabric types, checking your garment’s label for any specific care instructions before washing is important.
If your item is made from a bamboo blend containing other fabrics such as acrylic or Lycra, check the care label for specific care instructions related to these fabrics.
If you have a bamboo sweater, you may want to handwash it to prevent the delicate fibres from stretching the garment out of shape. With structured items made from bamboo fabric, it’s advisable to take these to a specialist dry cleaner, who will be knowledgeable enough to clean the item without losing its shape.
However, suppose there are no specific care instructions on the label. In that case, you should be able to wash your bamboo clothing on the gentle cycle of your washing machine using a regular detergent.
In most cases, you should be able to care for your bamboo garments at home, but avoid using fabric softener, as this can cause your items to discolour.
Does bamboo fabric shrink when washed?
As long as you avoid washing at high temperatures, your bamboo clothing shouldn’t shrink when it’s washed. For best results, machine wash lightly-soiled items in cold water and more heavily soiled items in warm, on a gentle cycle.
If your clothing requires bleaching, choose a less corrosive oxygen-based bleach instead of a chlorine-based bleach, as this will weaken the fibres and damage your clothes.
Here’s what you’ll need to wash your bamboo clothing safely:
- A washing machine (or a large sink or bowl for handwashing)
- A tumble dryer or an indoor clothing rack/outdoor clothing line
- Regular laundry detergent
- An enzyme-based stain remover for tougher stains
Washing your bamboo fabric
- Start by pretreating any difficult stains. Both enzyme-based stain removers and heavy-duty detergents are safe to use on bamboo clothing, with enzyme-based stain removers a great choice for breaking up stubborn stains. To remove stains, work a small amount of stain remover into the desired area, leave for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse.
- A regular detergent is a perfect choice for cleaning bamboo clothing. Follow the instructions on the bottle or box for the desired amount needed for your cycle.
- For most bamboo garments, a gentle cycle works best as it helps the fabric to maintain its suppleness, but you can choose a normal cycle if you’re washing bamboo linen. When choosing your water temperature, opt for cold water for lightly soiled items and warm water for heavier soiled garments. Never use hot water, as this could damage the fibres and cause your clothing to shrink.
- Before loading the washing machine, close any zips and buttons and turn your garment inside out to prevent pilling.
If handwashing your garments, always make sure that they are fully rinsed. This helps to prevent staining, which can be caused by the oxidation of cellulose in the build-up of excess soap left on the bamboo fabric.
How to dry bamboo fabric
To keep your bamboo fabric items at their softest, we recommend allowing your clothes to air dry flat on an indoor folding rack for at least 24 hours.
If hanging from a clothesline outside, keep your garments away from direct sunlight, which can cause them to discolour. Knitwear and accessories should be dried flat to prevent fibres from stretching when wet, so avoid hanging them on an outdoor line.
What happens if you put bamboo fabric in the dryer?
If you need your bamboo clothing in a hurry, then in most cases, you should be able to dry it in your tumble dryer, provided you choose a low-heat cycle and remove the fabric when it is still slightly damp. Never dry bamboo material in high-heat settings, as this will shrink it beyond repair.
For bamboo faux fur coats and jackets, we recommend avoiding the tumble dryer altogether, as this could damage the fibres and ruin your coat’s appearance. Read our guide on ‘How To Care For Faux Fur‘ for more tips on how to keep your bamboo faux fur looking amazing.
Does bamboo fabric need ironing?
If your bamboo fabric is left to air-dry flat or tumble dry on a low setting, it may not need ironing. However, for those garments with stubborn creases, it’s important to take care when choosing your iron settings. Use a dry iron with no steam on a very low-temperature setting to remove creases from any bamboo material.
High temperatures from the iron can scorch the fabric’s fibres causing them to yellow as they start to burn. Although you can sometimes remove discolouration, once damaged, the bamboo fibres can’t be restored, weakening the material.
Care and repairs
As most bamboo clothing is made from rayon, you may find that it could weaken or tear over time after daily wear and tear. If your garment needs repairing, use a sharp needle and polyester thread, whether mending by hand or machine.
How to store bamboo clothing?
Storing your bamboo clothing correctly is equally important in its care routine.
As the fabric needs to breathe, avoid storing it in plastic containers or dust bags as this can trap mildew on the fabric and cause yellowing. Similarly, cardboard boxes can also damage the fabric, as the acid from colouring on the boxes could leak and damage the fabric.
The best way to store your bamboo garments is to hang them to prevent wrinkling in a dry, airy space. If folding clothes, don’t fold your items into sharp creases or overstuff your drawers, as this could break the fibres in the fabric.
If storing pure bamboo linen, choose a cool, dark and dry place to prevent discolouring from the sun and mould and mildew from damaging the fabric.
How to care for bamboo fabric: The takeaways
Bamboo fabric is relatively easy to care for if you follow the correct steps above.
Check the item’s care labels for specific instructions, or if there aren’t any, wash with cold to warm water either by hand or in a washing machine with regular detergent on a gentle cycle.
If tumble drying your items, always choose a low heat setting or allow them to air dry flat, particularly for knitwear and accessories that could stretch.
Before wearing, iron on a dry and low heat setting, avoiding too much heat as this could scorch and damage the fibres.
Then, store your garments where they can breathe easily, avoiding plastic dust bags that can trap moisture and cause mildew which could damage the fabric.
Explore our bamboo collection at Jayley
Now you know how to care for bamboo clothing, why not invest in some? From fabulous coats to chic bamboo blend kimonos and stylish hats and bags, it’s never been easier to invest in some feel-good, plant-conscious pieces for your wardrobe.